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Ultimate Guide to an Accountant in Japan

Paying taxes is an unfortunate obligation, but it’s something we all have to carry out and understand. With the cultural and language barriers in Japan, taxing can become even more daunting than it already is. However, for those looking for an accounting firm in Japan and employed foreigners who think they need an accountant but are unsure, this ultimate guide to a Tax Accountant in Japan is tailored to address your specific needs.

Whether you’re doing your taxes individually or seeking assistance from a tax accountant in Japan, you may have questions such as “Who should use a tax accountant?”, “What can a tax accountant do for you?”, and “What are the different accounting services available in Japan?”. Rest assured, we will address all these questions and more to provide you with comprehensive insights into the role of a tax accountant in Japan.

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What are the ‘Big 3’ types of taxes in Japan?

Before delving into the accounting details, it’s essential to first understand the three major types of taxes that form the pillars of the Tax System in Japan:

1. Consumption Tax: Paid by corporations. Except for the first two years, it applies based on taxable sales after this period. Japan is changing the exemption rules in October 2023, Check out our article on the New Invoice System in Japan

2. Individual Tax: Paid by freelancers, self-employed, and certain salary income earners, the Kakutei Shinkoku (確定申告) deadline for filing is March 15th. There comes a point when you generate enough revenue where becoming a corporation will benefit you more. Learn more about when to incorporate your business from our article Tax Reduction: When to Incorporate Your Business.

3. Corporate Tax: A combination of National Tax and Local Tax. Minimum payment of 70,000 Yen, regardless of profit or loss. Learn exactly how much you’ll need to pay for your company in our guide to corporate tax in Japan.

Laptop for accounting in Japan

What is the difference between CPA and Tax Accountant in Japan?

Before finding the right accountant, it’s essential to understand the differences between the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the Tax Accountant (TA) in Japan. These two financial roles cater to diverse client profiles and have unique areas of expertise, making it crucial to make an informed choice based on your specific needs. 

CPA in Japan: As specialists serving listed companies, CPAs focus on auditing and attestation. They can also handle Tax Accountant tasks if registered.

Tax Accountant in Japan: Catering to SMEs and sole proprietors, Tax Accountants excel in tax returns and bookkeeping. However, they cannot obtain CPA registration.

Selecting the right accountant is vital for ensuring financial compliance and success. Businesses can choose CPAs for listed companies or Tax Accountants for SMEs and sole proprietors, finding the expertise they need for their specific requirements. In this article, we will be focusing on the Tax Accountant (TA) role in Japan. 

Finding the best way to do accounting in Japan

Who needs a tax accountant in Japan?

The need for a tax accountant depends on your personal situation. If you work for a Japanese employer who calculates your taxes for you, you may not need an accountant. However, having a tax accountant in Japan is advisable especially if you’re self-employed and don’t have the time to sit down and do your taxes for 10 and 20s+ of hours on end. 

A tax professional can be extremely useful if:

You’re an employee and need to do taxes for your home country

If you’re a U.S. citizen or an employee in Japan but receive income from your home country, you need to file taxes in these countries as well. This can be a big hassle or something you may forget about easily, absorbed in your daily life in Japan. However, there are strict deadlines and translations that need to be done, something a tax accountant can help you do. See the section about Do you need an accountant in Japan for personal finance? for a more in-depth explanation.

You’re a sole proprietor/self-employed person working multiple jobs

Being self-employed or being a sole proprietor of a business is a great achievement, but taxes can be a setback because there are a lot of difficulties tax can bring. Understanding tax procedures in and of itself is difficult enough, let alone in Japanese.

Besides that, if you ask a tough accounting question to 5 accountants in Japan, you’ll probably get 2 to 3 different answers, so you want to make sure you know the right answer to your question. A personalized accountant can help you understand the various tax procedures for your specific case and can let you know how much you should pay each quarter so you’re not faced with a big surprise when it’s time to file things like your Resident and Income Tax Return or kakutei shinkoku

As a self-employed worker or sole proprietor, you also want to avoid making any mistakes when filing taxes (a very common thing unfortunately). Hiring the right tax accountant can save you from any oversight or error and keep you compliant with Japanese tax rules and regulations.

A tax accountant in Japan can also help you in getting organized more quickly from day one of starting your own self-employed career or business. Having an accountant can give you the space to focus on your business goals and dreams, without spending any of your time worrying about taxes.

You’re founding a corporation

If you run a corporation or want to set up a company in Japan, you’re faced with different legalities altogether. In this case, a tax accountant in Japan will definitely come in handy. Figuring out the different regulations and procedures by yourself can take up precious time that can otherwise be used to efficiently run your business. A tax accountant will not only handle your taxes, but can consult you on the best practices, so you save money going forward.

Having an accountant will help you save a lot of money and help you with the following methods. Did you know you can reduce your corporate taxes by using an end-of-term bonus? Have your Japanese corporate entity pay 50% of your rent, instead of collecting that in salary thereby decreasing your taxable income.

We also covered more ways to reduce your Japanese taxes with around 10 different articles for 10 different ways.

For a comprehensive list of all documents you need for tax filing, visit our guide to corporate tax in Japan.

Ultimate Guide to Corporate Tax in Japan

You’re a person who has diverse income and investments

If you are an individual in Japan who invests in various ventures and receives income from sources other than a regular salary, it may be beneficial to consider hiring an accountant.  They’ll handle tax planning, ensure compliance, and optimize your tax liabilities, providing peace of mind. Whether you’re a freelancer, or investor, or have varied income streams, an accountant will streamline financial management for better decisions and financial well-being.

Finding a Japanese accountant

Why hire a tax accountant in Japan

There are a variety of reasons why having a tax accountant in Japan could help you. We’ll list the main three below.

Compliance

Every country has its own set of rules and regulations. Because of unfamiliarity with these Japanese tax requirements, there’s a big risk of making mistakes and incurring potentially heavy penalties when handling tax forms and accounting procedures in Japan. Because of their expert knowledge, a tax accountant in Japan can help you make the best tax plan and schedules to avoid such penalties, and let you keep your peace of mind.

Additionally, if you do not do everything right, you could suddenly be hit with multiple year’s worth of back payments for taxes or other mandatory government-related expenses which can cripple a business. The Japanese government also announces new changes and an accountant can explain the system to you rather than you spending hours figuring it out – for example, the new changes to the invoice retention system that started on January 2024.

Cost Effective

Whether you’re a sole proprietor, self-employed person, or owner of a corporation, you’ll need to review documents and make sure of their plan and record-keeping. If you own a business, you’ll also need to know your financial forecast, so you can always be up-to-date and survive. As you know, this all adds up to more time spent, which also means more money spent. Instead of spending your valuable hours on taxes, have an accountant in Japan help you, so you can save both time and money.

Get the Most Out of Tax Reduction

If you’re the owner of a business, you’ll want to get all the benefits you’re entitled to, and a tax accountant can help you get all of them. They will handle all the forms needed, such as the ‘Blue Return’ form (青色申告), which is a form for sole proprietors you can submit two months after your business has been authorized.

If this form is accepted, you can receive a 650,000 yen deduction to reduce your taxable business income which is great considering most businesses will need some support in their first year. If this form isn’t filled out properly, you run the risk of getting less than you deserve, so have your accountant handle all of it for you, and get the most out of your tax reduction!

Read more about tax reduction on our dedicated page Tax Reduction in Japan.

To know more about why outsourcing your accounting is beneficial, watch this video:

What does a tax Accountant in Japan do?

Now that we’ve discussed who should get a tax accountant and the primary reasons for getting one, let’s talk about what a tax accountant in Japan can do for you in further detail.

Tax Strategy and Advice

Having a tax strategy optimizes your business’ revenue and helps you feel financially secure and independent by having a plan to reduce your taxes. It has to be designed in advance to take advantage of all its benefits. Having a strategic approach to your tax situation can save you money to invest back into your business, stocks, or other investments. A tax accountant in Japan can get a financial evaluation of your situation so you can better understand your position and goals.

Besides guidance in tax strategy, a tax accountant in Japan will also give advice on the best approach to your taxes. Their expert knowledge ensures you that, as you grow over time, so do your personal or business investments.

Government Subsidies

There will be times when you can receive subsidies from the government. A tax accountant can assure you of the proper subsidies available at any moment.

A special subsidy, for example, was approved earlier this year that supported businesses that suffered financial losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A tax accountant in Japan can evaluate whether or not you would be eligible for subsidies in Japan.

To learn more about Subsidies in Japan from an expert, check out our startup episode on How to get Government money for your business!

Get Japanese Government Money for Your Business with Miho Tanaka

For more information on government subsidies, you can check out the National Tax Agency of Japan. They have an English website that has a lot of information on subsidies and tax systems, including one called the Grace System.

Year-End Tax Filing for Sole-Proprietors and Corporate Businesses

The end of the financial year is a very busy period for businesses and sole proprietors. For non-tax practitioners, it can get quite confusing to deal independently with various deadlines, calculations, adjustments, and application procedures. 

Business owners or sole proprietors, your documents will be sent out between October and November, including your withholding tax and statutory report, tax rate tables, checklist, legal record table, and tax payment slips. To ensure a streamlined end of the year, it’s advised to hire a tax accountant in Japan, even if it’s just to translate the guides since these will all be in Japanese.

Tax Auditing

A concern for many taxpayers is to be audited. What this means is that a series of investigations are done by the National Tax Agency or the Tax Office to check if tax returns are filed properly.

In line with Covid-19 measures, tax investigations have become less traditional, e.g. online investigations, which has improved the efficiency of tax audits. It’s important to keep up with the current, especially as a business owner or sole proprietor. Staying aware of the changes in tax audits and being prepared to deal with them in advance can save you lots of headaches.

International Tax Support

A tax accountant in Japan can make international endeavors a lot easier by offering international tax consulting. Whether you’re already a foreign company or looking to expand to other foreign countries, you’ll definitely want the advice of a tax accountant. These services include “Withholding tax treatment”, “Permanent Establishment (PE)”, “Antitax Haven Measure (CFC rules)”, “Foreign Dividend Exception Systems”, and “Tax Treaties”. You would have to find a firm that supports international tax as most Japanese firms do not. 

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How a Tax Accountant Can Help with Post-Incorporation Filing in Japan

After incorporating a company in Japan, businesses face a multitude of mandatory filings and registrations that are essential for legal compliance and smooth operation. A tax accountant plays a crucial role in navigating these complex requirements, making sure that all necessary documentation is correctly prepared and submitted on time.

Tax Office Filings

One of the primary responsibilities of a tax accountant is managing filings with the tax office. This includes submitting the Corporate Establishment Notification (法人設立届出書), which must be filed shortly after incorporation. The accountant also handles applications related to the Blue Return system (青色申告) , which can offer significant tax benefits, and manages the setup of payroll and withholding tax systems. By ensuring accurate and timely submissions, the accountant helps the company avoid penalties and ensures compliance with Japan’s tax regulations.

Local Tax Filings

In addition to national taxes, businesses in Japan must also register for local taxes with the prefectural and municipal offices. These filings include notifications for corporate inhabitant tax and corporate enterprise tax. A tax accountant ensures that all local tax obligations are met by preparing and submitting the required documentation. They also monitor payment schedules to avoid late fees and interest charges, thereby maintaining the company’s good standing with local tax authorities.

Social Insurance Enrollment

A tax accountant assists with the critical task of enrolling the company in social insurance systems, which include health insurance, employee pension insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. This involves preparing and submitting detailed forms to the relevant pension offices. The accountant ensures that all employees, including the company president, are properly registered and that contributions are calculated accurately.

Labor Standards and Employment Insurance

Compliance with labor standards and employment insurance regulations is another area where a tax accountant is indispensable. They manage the documentation and reporting related to labor conditions, social insurance status, and employment insurance registration. This includes submitting reports to the Labor Standards Inspection Office and the Public Employment Security Office, confirming that the company adheres to all legal requirements.

Regulatory Compliance

For businesses that require specific licenses and permits, a tax accountant can assist in identifying these needs and managing the application process. This ensures that the business operates within the legal framework and avoids any regulatory pitfalls.

Accounting Contracts

Accounting contracts or bookkeeping contracts is an agreement between a company or client and the accountant that protects your legal rights and clearly outlines each party’s responsibilities. When you’ve found an accountant you want to work with in Japan, you’ll be faced with one of these types of contracts.

  • Pay per hour: The average pay per hour for a bilingual accountant is roughly 30 USD or 4,000 yen, and 10,000 – 20,000 yen an hour for a non-corporate accountant. This works best for consulting about a critical issue you face.
  • Pay for a retainer: Retainer fees are monthly upfront deposits, for either a portion or all services, paid immediately after the contract is signed. A retainer allows access to services on a recurrent basis set of hours per month. This is the best option if you need routine tax services. 
  • Pay a fixed fee: Some projects are best to negotiate a set fee upfront, for example, for your first-time audit, or if you only need a year-end tax report.

You can also mix and match between these contracts, paying for some services via a fixed price and others on a monthly fee.

man typing

Japanese Accounting Software in Japan

Depending on your tax accountant in Japan, a specific accounting software is used in Japan. You may want to check out the following software if you need to provide tax files yourself. The biggest accounting software in Japan are:

Yayoi Kaikei or Yayoi Accounting

Yayoi Accounting is a cloud-based Japanese software that can automate and improve accounting procedures. It has simple but necessary functions and is primarily useful for those just starting their business or those with smaller businesses. Their smart transaction upload system saves time manually inputting receipts and statements through automatic uploads of data such as bank statements and credit card statements. Besides this automation, Yayoi Accounting also does tax analysis and auditing, and they offer email and telephone support. That being said, there is no in-person or live online support.

Pricing
Yayoi Accounting offers the whole first year for free! After that, prices start at ¥26,000 per user, per year. 

Money Forward (MF) Cloud Accounting

Money Forward (MF)’s Cloud Accounting is a software that automates troublesome tasks similar to Yayoi Accounting. This means daily transaction inputs are linked to your bank, e-commerce, etc. Just like Yayoi Accounting, MF also offers tax advice. Unlike Yayoi Accounting, however, MF is more like a databank so they also offer other services besides accounting like payroll management. Any of the MF services can be linked, such as cloud invoices, expenses, attendance, and salaries. This improves efficiency at a low cost since everything is centralized.

Pricing
MF offers a 30-day trial, after which the prices start at ¥3,980 per month or ¥35,760 per year (¥2,980 per month). MF also offers a cheap and easy plan for sole proprietors starting from ¥890 per month or ¥9,600 per year (¥800 per month).

Update : MF also provides medium business plan for ¥5980 per month or ¥59760 per year (¥4980 per month).

Accounting Automation with Money Forward

I have been researching accounting automation to reduce the amount of manual data entry and items needed monthly for our accounting in Japan. Money Forward offers a pre-paid credit card that synchs up with their account software, so rather than mixing your business and personal expenses through your personal card, you can use this prepaid card just for business purchases. This will help you cleanly separate the two and make it much easier for your accountant in Japan and yourself to organize your expenses.

The only downside of this card is that they do not provide it to US citizens due to FATCA. However, if this does not apply to you check out the Money Forward credit card here.

Freee

Freee is similar to Money Forward in that it connects various services within accounting, and it’s proven a very useful platform for small to medium-sized businesses. It has automated functions like automated credit card receipts and the inclusion of invoices and expenses. Its biggest selling point, however, is that it has automated alerts for anything you input, such as omissions or errors you may have entered, so you’ll never have to worry about penalties or filing your taxes wrongly.

Pricing
Freee offers a 30-day trial, after which the prices start at ¥4,480 per month or ¥47,760 per year (¥3,980 per month). They also have a special plan for small companies or companies that just launched, starting at ¥1,980 per month (excluding tax), and starter packs for those who only wish to do year-end tax reports, starting at ¥1,180 per month or ¥11,760 per year (¥980 per month).

Finding your Japanese tax accountant

English Accounting Software in Japan

Although you will eventually need to attach your financials in Japanese on your tax return, there’s absolutely no need to use Japanese accounting software in Japan to keep your records. Here are some services you can use to keep your tax records in English, which you or your tax accountant should be able to translate for your final tax reports. Please confirm with your tax accountant in Japan if they support non-Japan-made software as many will not use the following software to manage your bookkeeping.

XERO.com

XERO is an Australian software company that markets itself as software for everyday business. They have an easy-to-use interface and offer online courses to introduce cloud accounting software. Much like the Japanese software, XERO automates and takes care of invoices and expenses. In addition to that, they have a mobile app, so you can access your accounts from anywhere, and an unlimited user feature that makes it a winner for larger businesses and well-established small businesses.

Pricing
XERO offers a 30-day trial, after which prices start at $22 per month.

Quickbooks

Quickbooks is another powerful financial management suite. Since it has a strong history, launching its first product in 1983, it’s an industry leader. If you prioritize scalability, optimized organization, and the ability to loop in accountants, this one is the better choice. You can also gain deeper insight into your business’ logistics as it grows. Therefore, it’s advisable for businesses that wish to grow. 

Pricing
Quickbooks offers a 30-day trial, after which prices start at $17 per month. Quickbooks currently has a special offer of 70% off!

Looking for a Japanese Accountant who can use XERO / Quickbooks?

Reach out to us to Find the Right Accountant Hassle Free!

Accountant in Japan advise on 5 accounting software to use for SME

Tax Accountant Services in Japan

Now that we’ve covered the basics of why you need a tax accountant in Japan and which services you may want to use, here are the different tiers of accounting firms in Japan so you can figure out which one suits your purposes. 

It is good to keep in mind that most of these tiers will work for smaller companies, but not all of them can handle larger volumes for larger companies. This also means that most, if not all, can receive your financial data, and then provide you with the three basic financial reports (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement) required for tax filing, however often you desire (monthly, quarterly, yearly). Basic services also include tax filing support. 

Disclaimer: Because of legal reasons, we are unable to include company names in the tiers. We also assume that the accountant or accounting firm you want to work with in Japan is bilingual.

Lower Tier Accounting Services in Japan

The first tier of a Japanese tax accountants in Japan are usually Japanese bilingual accountants who offer specific services, usually at a fixed price. They are reactive, but won’t be as proactive as those in the next tier. This could be a major dealbreaker, and you’ll want to be careful of these firms, especially if you don’t know a lot about Japanese tax laws or need someone to solve your problems. 

Simply put: you ask for a service, they provide. But don’t expect many consultancies or them to go out of their way to discover and problem-solving in this tier. They provide an affordable service that serves the minimum and basic requirements of each client which are bookkeeping and year-end tax filing in Japan.

If you’re a sole proprietor or small company, you could opt for this type of service, depending on your needs, budget, and your knowledge, but it could be a risk, as the services are limited ad not as timely as other tiers.

Japanese Taxes Are Too Difficult?

Reach out to us to find the right Japanese tax accountant for you!

General low-tier elements to consider:

  • Usually, they have a fixed price, about ¥30,000/month + tax for accounting which may include the annual Japanese corporate tax returns preparation and filing.  Make sure to confirm this point before making a contract because tax returns can cost you around ¥100,000 – ¥150,000 yen for small businesses. If you are looking for an English-speaking accountant in Japan that does not charge extra, continue reading below.
  • You have to know what to ask, as they’re most likely not going to be proactively searching for issues. Consulting is therefore limited and usually not offered. It depends on the firm, however, because in some cases, if you need more help than normal, they may charge you a consulting fee of under 15,000 yen per hour
  • They typically provide only domestic accounting and tax support 
  • You’ll have to provide information in an organized manner to the accountant
  • They probably have limited bilingual staff and if your liaison leaves, they may not have another staff to provide you with accounting services in Japan
  • They might include tax filing in their set price, or charge you outside of it, so you need to check
  • Probably use software that is Japan-based. In some cases, they will only use one of the 3 listed above, so you have to confirm with your accountant in Japan software they allow you to use before signing the contract.

Middle Tier Accounting Services in Japan

The second tier of tax accountants in Japan level up from the first tier significantly in their proactive attitude. They are not yet big firms and will take your issues and questions at heart.

A lot of the time clients move from the bottom tier to the middle tier as they realize miscommunication is going on or are surprised by their tax payment requests at the very last minute. They are willing to pay a little more for great advisory and bilingual service.

This would probably be the best tier if you are a small business owner, as you’ll get great personally targeted service with lesser risk for a lower price point than a larger tier. 

General middle-tier elements to consider:

  • Have varied price points, usually from ¥75,000 Yen to ¥250,000/month depending on the volume of transactions, with a tax advisory rate of ¥15,000 to ¥25,000/hour on average, depending on the complexity of the inquiry.
  • Able to handle a variety of company sizes, from small to medium size
  • They are often domestic-based firms
  • They really want to work with you and will tailor to your needs
  • They probably can use all of the major Japanese software, and some may be able to also customize to whatever software you’re used to (e.g. XERO or Quickbooks)
  • They are fully bilingual, and bicultural and handle international situations
accountant japan service price

Middle-top Tier Accounting Services in Japan

A little higher level than the middle, but not quite high tier, is the middle-high tier. We put them here because these are mostly global firms, that won’t easily manage smaller companies.

The middle-top tier could be perfect for a medium-sized company that needs timely and effective service.

General middle-top tier elements to consider:

  • They most likely charge an annual fee of ¥1,200,000, maybe more
  • They are proactive in solving your needs and won’t leave you surprised
  • They handle everything in a professional and timely manner and are fine-tuned to multicultural issues
  • They provide extra services from the middle tier, such as international taxation, support for overseas parent companies and paying employees in different countries, consulting on Japanese and foreign tariffs, customs rules, and import and export. 
  • They can advise you on niche government subsidies
  • You can likely use your foreign accounting software with them (e.g. XERO or Quickbooks)
  • Offer business consulting 
  • May be able to support implementing more financial automation

High-Tier Accounting Services in Japan

The high-tier accounting services in Japan provide global, international, and flexible services.

If you own a medium to large corporation or are expanding your company abroad, and your budget allows a higher tier accounting firm, high tier could be a good option

General high-tier elements to consider:

  • They have offices and operations in multiple countries and continents
  • They work internationally with clients from global channels
  • Handle medium to large corporations

Top Tier Accounting Services in Japan

The top tier is basically the highest tier of a tax accountant in Japan, besides the Big 4, and they’ll also charge slightly less than them. They handle large to very big corporations.

If you own a big corporation and have a very large volume, but don’t want to consider The Big Four in price point or service, then the top tier is perfect

The Big Four

The Big Four deserves its own tier as they are globally grouped under its synonymous category. 

If you have a large budget and your volume is large, you could consider one of the Big Fours

General Big Four elements to consider:

  • They have English and international speakers on staff, that can handle everything in your language
  • The budget is high, even for consultancy, so you’d need a very high volume like a large corporation to make ends meet

Here are the companies we recommend

LOWER TIER

Match.Points Accounting

Contact Match.Points using the link here or the contact form below :

MatchPoint Accounting has a team of expert tax accountants under its wing who offer online tax consulting for small to medium-sized businesses under their sister company Zeirishi Online. They focus on the relationship between the company and the manager to provide what they call “life planning”. These online accountant services cost about ¥360,000 per year, but you can schedule a free consultation first.

MatchPoint Accounting itself is actually primarily known for its MPC (MatchPoint College), an online learning platform that encourages you to understand the basics of accounting in Japan. They continually improve their knowledge and are currently also developing training for financial management, which will be coming soon. 

To know more about MatchPoint Accounting’s expertise, take a look at our webinar where we interviewed one of their certified Japanese accountants, Shinpei Wakana. They are also providing a special discount to Scaling Your Company readers/listeners of one month free – make sure to mention our name and the discount.

You can read the follow-up questions to this webinar here: Q&A with a Japanese Tax Accountant

Contact Matchpoint

MIDDLE TIER

QCIQ Consulting

Contact QCIC using the link here or the contact form below :

QCIC is a one-stop company that provides various services for foreign companies in Japan. They offer things like business advice on specific progress in Japan, including audits, industry research, and trend analysis. They also offer Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, including accounting, financial management, and taxes. They have expert CPAs, EAs, Licensed Tax Accountants, and FSA/FFAJ Certified Compliance Auditors.

I have introduced multiple friends to QCIC and they have not only fixed problems created by another accountant in Japan but provide proactive accounting support – most Japanese accountants are reactive and wait for you to ask questions outside of the normal bookkeeping and yearly tax return preparation. Tell them Tyson sent you and they will take good care of you.

Contact QCIC

MIDDLE-TOP TIER

weConnect

Contact weConnect using the link here or the contact form below :

weConnect specializes in business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, including accounting, financial management, payroll, and taxes. They can provide heavy support for corporations setting up and growing a subsidiary in Japan and strong support for corporations based in Japan. They are a solid choice for companies thinking of expanding out of Japan into other markets because they can support both your Japan and international operations.

weConnect also has the capacity to support companies with complete back-office support solutions for corporations Headquartered in Australia, Canada, and the US. For corporations in those countries, weConnect can provide a solid service that would be cheaper than using a domestic firm to handle domestic and international operations.

Contact WeConnect

My tips for doing your accounting

My goal for accounting is to be compliant and prevent future issues while using as minimum time as possible because my time should be spent generating revenue! Here are some of my tips for optimizing your accounting.

Have one or multiple bank accounts

If you are a sole proprietor, separate your personal and business bank accounts & credit cards. Stop wasting time checking back and forth synchronize your business with Japanese accounting software and eliminate unnecessary data entry. You can explore further about bank accounts in Japan through our article on Corporate Bank Account in Japan.

If you are a business owner, consider making different bank accounts for different business models. For example, if I have a digital marketing agency and coaching business, each should have separate bank accounts and credit cards to help you track purchases and expenses more easily.

Work Distribution

I recommend creating a RACI chart and making it very clear who will do what. Here are some examples we clearly defined between myself and my accountant in Japan.

Bookkeeping flow: We have a spreadsheet to list purchases made and we upload receipts to Google Drive and send an email on the 5th of the following month to the bookkeeper. They will input that data into the accounting software.

Employee tax notification: The accountant agreed to submit employee tax documents bi-annually on our behalf.

Accounting Vocabulary in Japanese

A major benefit of having a tax accountant in Japan is not having to deal with forms and procedures in Japanese yourself. However, if you want to know the basics, here are some words you’ll probably want to know.

EnglishRomajiJapanese
accountantkaikeishi会計士 (かいけいし)
accounting departmentkeiribu経理部 (けいりぶ)
annual closingnenkankeisan年間計算 (ねんかんけいさん)
auditkansa監査 (かんさ)
assetsshisan資産 (しさん)
balance sheettaishaku taisho hyo貸借対照表 (たいしゃくたいしょうひょう)
delivery notenouhinsho納品書 (のうひんしょ)
equity or net assetsShihon / Junshisan資本 (しほん) ・ 純資産 (じゅんしさん)
expenses and losseshiyou / sonshitsu費用 (ひよう) ・ 損失 (そんしつ)
income statementson eki keisan sho損益計算書 (そんえきけいさんしょ)
liabilitiesfusai負債 (ふさい)
liquidityryuudousei流動性 (りゅうどうせい)
listed companyjoujoukaisha上場会社 (じょうじょうかいしゃ)
loankariirekin借入金 (かりいれきん)
local taxchihouzei地方税 (ちほうぜい)
monthly reportgetsuji houkoku月次報告 (げつじほうこく)
revenuesshueki収益 (しゅえき)
sole proprietorshipkojin jigyou個人事業 (こじんじぎょう)
standard costshyoujun genka標準原価 (ひょうじゅんげんか)
stock exchangeshouken torihikijo証券取引所 (しょうけんとりひきじょ)
stockholderkabunushi株主 (かぶぬし)
stockholder meetingkanunushi shoukai株主総会 (かぶぬしそうかい)
stock pricekabuka株価 (かぶか)
sister companyshimaikaisha姉妹会社 (しまいかいしゃ)
subsidiary companykogaisha子会社 (こがいしゃ)
tangible fixed assetyuukei kotei shisan有形固定資産 (ゆうけいこていしさん)
tax accountantzeirishi税理士 (ぜいりし)
tax ratezeiritsu税率 (ぜいりつ)
tax yearzeinendo税年度 (ぜいねんど)
tax deductiblesonkin sannyuu koumoku損金算入項目 (そんきんさんにゅうこうもく)
taxable incomekazei shotoku課税所得 (かぜいしょとく)
taxationkazei課税 (かぜい)
total assetssoushisan総資産 (そうしさん)
total liabilitiesfusaigoukei負債合計 (ふさいごうけい)
total salessouuriagedaka総売上高 (そううりあげだか)
trade account receivablesurikakekin売掛金 (うりかけきん)
transfer pricefurikae kakaku振替価格 (ふりかえかかく)
useful lifetaiyou nensuu耐用年数 (たいようねんすう)
value added taxfukakachizei付加価値税 (ふかかちぜい)
variable costshendouhi変動費 (へんどうひ)
variance analysissaibunseki差異分析 (さいぶんせき)
working capitaluntenshihon運転資本 (うんてんしほん)
year-end tax adjustmentnenmatsu chuosei年末調整 (ねんまつちょうせい)

Do you need an accountant in Japan for personal finance?

In Japan, many individuals and companies are able to submit their taxes without the need for an accountant. The tax law in Japan is relatively straightforward for the average taxpayer, and most people can handle their personal taxes on their own. However, let’s take a look at certain cases where having a tax accountant or CPA in Japan can be incredibly helpful. 

Non-Resident Taxpayers

For non-resident taxpayers, navigating the tax laws in Japan can be more complex. If you are a non-permanent resident or have income from abroad, understanding your tax laws in Japan can be challenging. In such cases, seeking the expertise of an accountant who is familiar with international tax laws can ensure compliance and avoid any potential issues.

Business Owners and Self-Employed Individuals

If you own a business or work as a self-employed individual in Japan, your tax situation can become more intricate. An accountant can assist in properly accounting for business income, expenses, and deductions, ensuring accurate reporting and maximizing tax benefits.

Complex Investments

If you have complex investment portfolios, such as stocks, real estate, or overseas assets, an accountant can provide valuable advice on tax implications and strategies to minimize tax liability.

Retirement Planning

Planning for retirement involves various financial decisions that can have tax implications. An accountant can guide you through tax-efficient retirement strategies and help you make the most of retirement accounts and pensions.

Expats and Dual Citizens

Expatriates and individuals with dual citizenship often have unique tax considerations due to their ties to both Japan and their home country. An accountant experienced in handling expat taxes can help optimize tax planning and ensure compliance with the tax laws of both countries.
While many people may not need an accountant or CPA in Japan for their personal taxes, those in unique financial situations or with complex financial matters can benefit greatly from professional advice and guidance. If you find yourself in any of the above situations or need more personal finance tips and information on tax laws in Japan, you can visit the Retire Japan forum, which is a valuable resource for expats and individuals looking to navigate the financial landscape in Japan.

How can you do taxes as a US citizen in Japan?

Did you know that you can file your taxes as a US citizen living in Japan? The US tax system for expatriates can be complex, but with the right support, you can navigate it effectively. You can utilize software like Expatfile where you can e-file your own expat tax return in a matter of a few minutes. International accountants in Japan such as Dean Yoshimoto can also help you file your US taxes accurately and in compliance with the IRS regulation and tax law in Japan. Discover expert insights and practical tips on handling US taxes while living in Japan in this informative podcast by RetireJapan TV S01E08: Taxes in Japan, US citizens in Japan.

As an expat living in Japan, you may have to file taxes in your home country, depending on your citizenship and the tax laws of your home country. For example, if you are a British expat living in Japan, you may still be required to file taxes in the UK if you maintain ties or income sources there. This is also possible through platforms like Taxd. Each country’s tax laws vary, so be aware of their tax responsibilities in both Japan and your home country.

Stuck Japanese business

Looking for an accountant in Japan?

Taxes can cause many a headache, but with the help of this guide, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of a tax accountant’s role in Japan. 

We have established valuable connections in the accounting space, and we can vouch for the satisfaction of individuals who have utilized their services. If you’re looking for an accounting firm in Japan or are an employed foreigner seeking guidance, please complete the form, and we will gladly explore our network to find a suitable match for your specific needs. Your satisfaction is our priority!

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